When man first sinned, by this act he became God's enemy. By misusing his freedom before God, he disregarded divine guidance and sought autonomy in an own moral code. Man loved himself more than God. In doing so, he corrupted his original nature, which was created to live according to God's will, and condemned himself to an existence separated from God, marked by sin and death. But God, out of His great love, reconciled human beings to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Look at what the Apostle Paul says, writing to the Romans: "For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:10,11).  

This Pauline text reveals that God's love led Him to enter humanity, through the Son, to save man from this new condition of existence, characterized by suffering and death, from which he could not get out by his own efforts. It is in this context that Paul tells the Philippians that Jesus Christ, "being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (2:6,7).

This is why the Apostle says: "shall we be saved through his life!". Yes, it is by the life of the Son of God that man can save himself from this existence and reunite with the Creator in his original condition. But why, then, did God give men his Law? Can't man be saved by keeping the Law? Look at what Paul says: "a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

The Law is the lifestyle of the original man, before the Fall. God gave it to man to show him how far he is from his original condition. So much so that no one, in this existence, can live it. Many may keep some commandments, but soon fall into others, because human nature has been corrupted. Thus, the Law shows that man cannot be saved by his own righteousness, but by the righteousness that comes from God, that is, through Jesus Christ, the Son (Romans 10:1-4). However, the Apostle Paul said that the Law is holy and Jesus did not abolish it. For this reason, Christians seek holiness based on its principles.

Yes, it is through the life of Christ that human beings can be reconciled with God. For Jesus came into the world, walked the path of the first man, and remained faithful to God. Like Adam, He was tempted by the Devil and did not yield to temptation (Matthew 4). Also, the Son "has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin" (Hebrews 4:15). As for the Law, He said that He did not come to abolish it, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Jesus was obedient to God even unto death. About this, Paul states, "being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8).

In this way, it can be seen that the Son sacrificed Himself for the sake of man. He did everything that fallen man cannot do. In human form, He overcame temptations and lived without sin, fulfilled the divine Law, and was obedient to God until death. God accepted his sacrifice, and thus the way was opened for fallen man to leave this existence and reach the divine presence (John 14:6). For this reason the Apostle Paul states, "therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus", for in Christ "the righteous requirements of the Law" are fulfilled (Romans 8:1-4).

And those who are now "in Christ" have the assurance of their redemption, so much so that Paul states that nothing separates them "from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8: 39). There is a safety net for these. For the "Spirit intercedes" for them (Romans 8:26), and not only the Spirit, but Christ himself also intercedes "at the right hand of God" (Romans 8:34), and above all, it is God himself who justifies them (Romans 8:33). Note the effort of the Trinity on behalf of fallen man. But Scripture testifies that such love and grace are only achieved through faith in the Son of God.

Antônio Maia - M. Div.

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